Scientists from the Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Universe. Kavli found a very bright trail from a supernova explosion. The research results are published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

A group of astronomers have discovered the fastest optical explosion of a Type Ia supernova. Many stars end their lives with a grand explosion. The most massive stars go supernova. Sometimes white dwarfs, stars devoid of sources of thermonuclear energy, can also explode. This type of supernova is classified as Type Ia supernovae.

Due to their uniform and extremely high brightness (5 billion more than the Sun), Type Ia supernovae are often used by researchers in lighthouses to measure distances in astronomy. For example, they have already helped scientists detect the accelerating expansion of our universe. But despite the great benefits of Type Ia supernovae to cosmology, much of the formation of these objects remains unclear.

Astronomers from the Institute of Physics and Mathematics of the Universe. Kavli IPMU attempted to catch Type Ia supernovae within one day of their explosion. Using next-generation wide-angle imaging equipment, they discovered the fastest optical flash, Tomo-e202004aaelb, a Type Ia supernova. In the next two days, significant changes in its brightness were observed. It later behaved like a typical early phase Type Ia supernova.

Scientists have performed computational simulations. Apparently, the origin of the mysterious fastest optical flare can be explained by the energy that is released as a result of the interaction between supernova ejections and dense and confined circumstellar matter shortly after the supernova explosion.